Saudi Arabia fools the West, again

Yet another war has broken out within Islam.

The richest nations of the Arab world are pummeling one of the poorest people on earth – the Yemenis.

As the deaths of helpless civilians mount, a lie of Goebellian scale is being perpetuated on the rest of us, who seem to have learned little from the propaganda that gave us Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”.

This time the bogeyman is Iran’s tentacles choking the sea lanes of Bab-el-Mandeb that separate Yemen from the African coast.

While the vast majority of Islamic terror attacks on the West, Middle East and South Asia have been conducted by Sunni Muslim jihadis, Saudi Arabia has somehow convinced us it is Shiite Islam and Iran that are to blame.

Now the Saudis have taken on the task of restoring democracy in Yemen by backing President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was ousted in a popular insurgency by the Ansar Allah Party, better known as the Houthis.

The only problem is that none of the countries in the Saudi-led coalition of oil-rich Gulf Arab sheikhdoms that purportedly seek to restore democracy in Yemen have ever faced their own electorates.

In addition, they are the very countries that have been the source of funding for the world’s worst jihadi terrorist organizations, nations that have funded tens of thousands of Islamic madrassahs that churn out jihadis willing to die for Islam’s victory over the kufaar, the hated non-Muslim infidel.

The lie that has been floated and gobbled up by western analysts and politicians is that the Yemeni Houthis are a product of Iranian intervention in Yemen and thus pose a threat to western interests as well as the security of Israel.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Finnish anthropologist Susanne Dahlgren, who has lived in Yemen, points out in the Middle East Research and Information Project this week that the Shiite and Iranian links being slapped on to the Houthis have little substance.

She writes: “The Western media shorthand designating the Houthis as ‘Iran-backed’ and ‘Shiite’ is misleading at best, since Houthi grievances are home grown and the Zaydi sect to which the Houthis belong is a distant cousin of the Twelver Shi’ism championed by the Islamic Republic in Tehran.”

Dahlgren goes on to say, “Much huffing and puffing by Gulf (Arab) media notwithstanding, there was little evidence that Iran aided the Houthis in the intermittent fighting of 2004-2010, certainly not to the extent of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention against the Houthis in 2009.”

For the United States and, unfortunately, Canada to throw their weight behind this coalition of medieval dictators is not only unprincipled, but also suggests Middle East petro dollars and possible defence contacts are shaping Western foreign policy.

The Saudis have been very successful in convincing the West that it is not they who pose a threat to our liberties, but Iran.

This notwithstanding the fact that as early as November, 2013, the BBC’s diplomatic editor, Mark Urban, broke the news that Saudi Arabia had invested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons projects for its own needs.

Urban reported, “several nuclear weapons made in Pakistan for Saudi Arabia are sitting, waiting for delivery.”

Canada should resist the temptations offered by Saudi Arabia, a regime accused of buying nukes off the shelf from a potentially hostile nuclear power – Pakistan, not Iran.

#letstalkmen Men suffered and died for the right to vote

On 23 March, while arguing the case on these pages for a Minister for Men, Tim Samuels apologised for trespassing on feminism’s most hallowed ground and said: “We men have not had to fight tooth and nail for our votes”.

No doubt, everybody would go along with that. Everybody in this country is taught from infancy that the Suffragettes had to wrest votes for women from a brutal male establishment that was protecting the monopoly exercised by all men. My daughters learned that lesson at primary school before they had even been introduced to the cardinal beliefs of the world’s leading religions.

As is so often the case with the feminist catechism however, everybody – including Mr Samuels – is looking at history with one eye. As a matter of fact, men did have to fight before all men could get the vote. And men’s fight was not conducted in debating halls, demonstrations and salons, nor even from the relative safety of the prison cell. Before all British men were allowed to vote, poor young men had to be wounded in millions and to die in hundreds of thousands in a war from which all women were exempted solely by reason of their gender.

Mr Samuels was writing almost exactly on the 99th anniversary of the Military Service Act, under which every British man 18-41 was subject to conscription for the First World War. The actual wording of the Act was that every man of that age was “deemed to have enlisted”.

Without any voice in the matter, therefore, every adult male was, from that moment, subject to military law. If he didn’t go quietly (most did, of course) he could be forcibly removed from his home and transported to the front where, if he protested that he couldn’t see any sense in that insane conflict, he might be subjected to a cursory field court martial and executed by firing squad.

Guess what? Most of the propertyless, working-class men who then suffered in the mud and were blown to shreds in some of the most gruesome carnage in human history had no right to vote. One of them was my own uncle Tom – a working-class private soldier conscripted at Christmas 1917 at the age of 18 and killed in battle at Cachy on the Somme on April 24, 1918. Nothing identifiable remained of him to bury.

Palmerston voiced the views of the ruling class in the nineteenth century when he wrote to Gladstone in 1864 and said: “I deny that every sane and not disqualified man has a moral right to vote. What every man and woman too have a right to, is to be well governed and under just laws”.

Before 1918, the vote was restricted not simply by sex but also by property qualifications. Roughly 60pc of adult men were then entitled to vote. At the 1910 general election, 7,709,981 men were registered to vote. By the time of the 1918 general election there were 12,913,166 registered male electors in the United Kingdom. The 1918 Act is, rightly, most famous for having brought more than eight million women into the electorate; but, for the first time, it also enfranchised more than five million men over the age of 21 without regard to property or class.

Introducing the Bill, the Home Secretary George Cave said: “War by all classes of our countrymen has brought us nearer together, has opened men’s eyes, and removed misunderstandings on all sides. It has made it, I think, impossible that ever again, at all events in the lifetime of the present generation, there should be a revival of the old class feeling which was responsible for so much, and, among other things, for the exclusion for a period, of so many of our population from the class of electors. I think I need say no more to justify this extension of the franchise.”

The Bill was passed in the House of Commons by 385 votes in favour to 55 against. Not one woman was then sitting as an MP. The rotten repressive male Establishment voted 7-1 in favour of votes for some women (restricted at that point by age and property qualifications) and all men over the age of 21. In the 1928 Act, the franchise was extended to women on equal terms with men.

This mixed picture of the past is now almost entirely buried and forgotten. If you enter a Google search on “votes for men 1918”, you might find a handful of entries in among hundreds of pages about women’s suffrage. In my experience, not one person in 1,000 knows the full story.

For many years, as a kind of party trick, I have been asking people “how many men got the vote in the Representation of the People Act 1918?”. I have never met anybody who knew the answer. When, some years ago, I asked this question of my oldest friend – Oxford graduate in PPE and one of the most completely scintillating intellects I have ever known – he indignantly replied “None, of course.”

There is a reason why our view of this history is as biased, one-sided and prejudiced as the account of the Eighth Route Army that was taught to Chinese children under Mao.

The reason is that the whole truth is extremely inconvenient. It conflicts with the dominant feminist narrative which portrays women as the victims of repressive men, from whom liberation and progress had to be wrested by militant uprising. The true history of votes for women, however, is not a story of sex war but of a continuous progress of electoral reform over a century from 1832-1928 in which women’s suffrage was only one element.

It is also true that, as a whole, that complete story does credit both to Britain and to men whose memory deserves our continuing honour, compassion and respect.

Nandita Das: “Every man is a potential rapist. #letstalkmen #womenagainstfeminism

it would be a shame if her acting career is destroyed after calling men rapists

TWO MUSLIM women connected to ISIS/al-Qaeda arrested for planning to detonate explosive device in NYC

Two women living in Queens have been charged with planning to build a bomb that they wanted to detonate in the United States.

The women, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, who until recently were roommates, were named in a complaint unsealed on Thursday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, and were expected to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.

Ms. Velentzas and Ms. Siddiqui, who are American citizens, appeared to be interested in jihad, according to the complaint, which said they had been communicating with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula personnel and had been viewing violent videos made by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

In the complaint, the government said the plot advanced to the point that Ms. Siddiqui bought four propane gas tanks and stored them in a stairwell outside her apartment. Earlier, the women had bought potassium gluconate at a Queens pharmacy, bought the fertilizer Miracle-Gro (which can be used as a bomb component) and read about and discussed bomb-making.